Thursday, 19th July 2018. 1:48:30am ET
Reviews CD Reviews Alternative, Indie Rock B.D. Gottfried- The Element of Left


ARTIST: B.D. Gottfried

ALBUM: The Element of Left

LABEL: Self-released

REVIEWER: Matthew J.

DATE: 9-2-09

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Bill Gottfried and his band play progressive rock of the kind embodied by fellow Canadian act Rush: big ideas, big guitars, big synthesizer undercurrents, and a love-it-or-hate-it approach to vocals that's puzzling, at best, to all but devoted fans. That vocal approach is particularly puzzling when it comes to this album; on "Loose Screws," Gottfried proves that he has vocal chops worthy of a musical theater performer, so why on the rest of the album does he sing with a nasal, reedy affectation? Geddy Lee sings that way because that's just what his voice sounds like, but Gottfried just seems to be doing it to give progressive rock fans something familiar to hold onto. Unless you're already a pretty big fan of the genre, it's actually kind of a distraction. The songwriting still shines through, for the most part; "Pointed Hat and Twister" is full of weird, witty turns of phrase, rich production values, and epic electric guitar, and "Are You Safe Tonight" is mellow and lovely, thanks in part to soulful backing vocals. On the other hand, "Hell and Above (Ouija Dialogue)" aims high with big organs and soaring operatic vocals, but it misses the mark thanks to off-key singing; overly intense vocal affectations also ruin the melodic piano phrases of "Automatic Automation." Still, if this album occasionally misses its mark, that's in part because Gottfried and company have aimed so high, and the sheer ambition displayed on this album is sure to appeal to progressive rock fans.

Visit www.bdgottfried.com for more information about this release.


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